Jose Graziano da Silva of Brazil has been elected director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Since 2006, he has served as FAO’s assistant director-general and regional representative for Latin America and the Caribbean. Graziano da Silva is FAO’s eighth director-general since the organization was founded in Quebec City, Canada on October 16, 1945. The term of the new director-general, who will succeed Senegal’s Jacques Diouf, will start on January 1, 2012 and run through July 31, 2015.
The International Rice Research Institute has appointed Eero Nissila as head of plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology, and leader of GRISP Theme 2: Accelerating the Development, Delivery and Adoption of Improved Rice Varieties. Nissila will provide strategic and operational leadership on all aspects of rice varietal improvement research in IRRI. As the global leader for GRISP Theme 2, and in collaboration with others, he will provide overall leadership for accelerating the development of new rice varieties and hybrids in all major rice-growing environments, with a particular emphasis on new, targeted product development pipelines that utilize molecular breeding approaches and networks.
Renze Seeds has named Doug Breinig of Arapahoe, Neb., as sales manager for south-central and southwest Nebraska. Breinig began his career in the seed industry in 1974 and worked for three different companies before joining Renze Seeds. John West has joined the company as district sales manager and will be based in St. Joseph, Miss. West will work to build and service a dealer network while reaching out directly to growers. Seed industry veteran Jeremie Parr has joined Renze Seeds as district sales manager in east-central Iowa. Parr has been employed in the agriculture industry since 1993 and has worked in the seed industry since 1997.
FuturaGene has announced that Eugênio César Ulian has joined the company as vice president of regulatory affairs. Ulian reports directly to the chief executive officer of FuturaGene, Stanley Hirsch, and his scope of activity is global. Ulian has extensive knowledge and experience in the biotech sector. His last position was scientific and regulatory affairs manager at Monsanto.
Valent U.S.A. Corporation has announced three new hires in the company’s seed protection business unit. Marty Robinson, Jay Stroh and Jeff Weber will serve as seed protection market managers in their respective territories. Robinson will work out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and will be responsible for brand management of corn seed protectants and seed protection account management for key western Corn Belt seed companies. Stroh will work out of Underwood, Minn., with responsibilities including brand management of the NipsIt Suite line-up of products for sugar beets, canola and cereals, and seed protection account management for key North Dakota and western seed companies. Weber will be based in Noblesville, Ind., and will manage Inovate as well as work with sales organization and seed protection account management for key Midwest seed companies. As the seed protection team expands, Glen Karaffa will shift his focus to support the growing Valent rice, cereals and sorghum seed protection portfolio.
Syngenta has announced that spinosad insecticide is now available for use on onions as a seed treatment. Spinosad will be available exclusively as a component of FarMore FI500, an insecticide/fungicide seed treatment technology containing separately registered products. The registration of spinosad as a seed treatment for protection against onion maggots marks the first commercially available product offer derived from the 2008 agriculture chemical research and development collaboration between Syngenta and Dow AgroSciences.
The J. R. Simplot Company’s Plant Sciences business has announced its new Innate Technology, the all-native biotechnology platform for improving crops, leading to new, better and healthier foods. Innate Technology is a patented plant biotechnology process that works with a plant’s own genes to enhance desirable traits and to decrease less desirable traits. Innate Technology precisely targets particular traits without introducing foreign DNA. Simplot’s first application of Innate Technology has been submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture for regulatory review.
Soybean growers now have access to a revolutionary biological mode of action to help protect their crop from nematodes, as well as other pests, as part of an agreement announced by Bayer CropScience LP and Monsanto Company. Offered with Monsanto’s Acceleron seed treatment products for soybeans, Poncho/VOTiVO seed treatment from Bayer combines a seed-applied insecticide with a new living-barrier approach to nematode protection. Under the agreement, Monsanto will have rights to commercialize Poncho/VOTiVO on seed from its Asgrowthe Channel brand and regional brands, as well as to sell the product through its seed licensees, which include numerous independent seed companies across the United States.
Syngenta has entered into an exclusive global technology partnership with Pasteuria Bioscience Inc., a U.S.-based biotechnology company. Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will develop innovative bio-nematicide products based on the naturally occurring soil bacteria Pasteuria spp. This group of bacteria controls nematodes across a broad variety of crops. Joint development will initially focus on seed treatment products for controlling soybean cyst nematodes. Syngenta and Pasteuria aim to launch their first product within two years.
The Makhteshim Agan Group and Isagro Company have reached an agreement for the exclusive license of the active ingredient kiralaxyl for seed dressing applications globally. According to the agreement, MAI will have the rights to register, develop and market mixtures and formulations based on kiralaxyl for the seed dressing market. Isagro will continue to manufacture and hold registrations for the active ingredient of kiralaxyl. The agreement also allows for the development and registration of products to better address customer needs in the segment of seed dressing, predominantly in North America.
Bayer CropScience and the privately-owned company RAGT Semences S.A.S., based in Rodez, France, have signed a license and cooperation agreement. Under the agreement, RAGT grants Bayer access to winter wheat germplasm and associated molecular markers. In addition, the companies will explore joint projects to further improve wheat breeding, and RAGT will have options to license wheat traits from Bayer. To support its internal research and development efforts, Bayer has already entered into collaborations with CSIRO in Australia, the University of Nebraska in the United States and Evogene in Israel. In 2010, Bayer also acquired two wheat breeding programs in the Ukraine. The first new wheat varieties from the company’s global wheat breeding program are expected to be available within the next five years.
Seedway has purchased the business assets of Olds Garden Seed from Winfield Solutions. Olds Garden Seed supplies small-package vegetable and flower seed to retailers and gardeners throughout the Midwest and the Great Lakes region. The successful Olds Garden Seed brand will be maintained, with inventory, operations and customer service transitioning to Seedway’s Elizabethtown, Pa., facility. Scott Morgan, Olds Garden Seed brand manager, will remain with the organization to lead the brand, as will Chris Coley as customer service lead.
Performance Plants Inc., a global agricultural biotechnology provider with research and development facilities in Ontario, Canada, has entered into a commercial licensing agreement in corn, as well as a four-year research and development collaborative licensing agreement in rice and soybeans with the Chinese agricultural company Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Ltd. Through these agreements, DBN becomes the exclusive user in China for PPI’s drought tolerance and yield protection technology, heat and drought tolerance technology, water efficiency technology and yield enhancement technologies in corn. The company also has non-exclusive rights for those technologies in rice and soybeans in the country.
The United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service’s Sunflower Research Unit has merged with the Red River Valley Research Center in Fargo, N.D., in order to provide efficiency, reduce administrative costs and increase research budgets for each scientist. The new unit will be called the Sunflower and Plant Biology Research Unit. Mike Foley has been appointed research leader for the new unit.
Dow AgroSciences LLC is expanding its wheat portfolio with its recent acquisition of assets from Northwest Plant Breeding Company based in Pullman, Wash. With this acquisition, DAS will expand its Hyland Seeds certified wheat seed program foundation into the Pacific Northwest and build upon the Northwest Plant Breeding Company’s program. The addition of Northwest Plant Breeding assets will provide a research station, germplasm, several active patents and plant variety protections to DAS. DAS will open a cereal breeding station in Pullman and will be fully operational by March 2012.
INCOTEC Group BV and Plant Health Care, a leading provider of naturally derived products to the agriculture and horticulture industries, have signed a non-exclusive, multi-year agreement to develop and market PHC’s Myconate in combination with INCOTEC’s proprietary seed treatment packages. PHC will contribute its Myconate technology and introduce its current customers to Incotec seed treatments. The two companies will work together to develop new and novel uses for Myconate around the world.
Winfield Solutions LLC, a subsidiary of Land O’ Lakes, and Chromatin Inc., a provider of innovative crop breeding technology, sorghum seed products and energy crop feedstocks, have joined forces to market and develop forage sorghum hybrids. Under the agreement, Winfield will partner with Chromatin and its subsidiary, Sorghum Partners LLC, to provide and develop market leading hybrid forage sorghum seed products that will be marketed and distributed through the Winfield network of customers in North America.
The world’s largest database on plants’ functional properties, or traits, has been published. Scientists compiled three million traits for 69,000 of the world’s roughly 300,000 plant species. The achievement rests on a worldwide collaboration of scientists from 106 research institutions. The initiative, known as TRY, is hosted at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany. The first release of the TRY database has been published in the journal Global Change Biology. “This huge advance in data availability will lead to more reliable predictions of how vegetation boundaries and ecosystem properties will shift under future climate and land-use change scenarios,” says Ian Wright of Macquarie University in Australia.
Agricultural producers will benefit from a project at South Dakota State University that uses an innovative plant-breeding technique to shave perhaps two years off the time needed to produce winter wheat varieties for farmers. Breeders are pollinating wheat plants with corn to produce doubled-haploid wheat plants. The resulting doubled-haploids are homozygous lines with identical chromosome sets carrying genes originating only from the wheat parent. Consequently, instead of needing approximately six generations of conventional self-pollination, such homozygous lines are produced in only one.